The Theater: Old Play in Manhattan, Mar. 24, 1952

Golden Boy (by Clifford Odets),though perhaps the most popular of Odets' plays, scarcely ranks among the best. Its theme —the demoralizing values that go with quick, flashy American success—is as vital today as it was during the '30s. But Odets' treatment, though often dramatic, was always prefabricated, and at times now it seems both dated and flat. The brutalization through big-shotism and the defeat through victory of Joe Bonaparte, who becomes a prizefighter and breaks his violin-playing hands, is given a copybook patness. Joe's violent racing-car death merely adds a crude exclamation point. John Garfield's Joe, moreover, never for a moment...

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